The different types of prospecting: how to choose?

For a company, prospecting is part of the solution to finding new customers. The world of prospecting is vast and varied in its methods. While analog prospecting (telephone, door-to-door, trade shows, etc.) was the only technique used in the past, today it is gradually being replaced by digital prospecting. Strategies differ according to each company's specific objectives. 

In this guide, discover our tips for choosing the right type of prospecting for your needs.

What is prospecting?

Every year, companies suffer from attrition. They "naturally" lose part of their customer base. There are two forms of attrition:

  • Switch to another brand offer. This isrelative attrition;
  • Giving up a product or service to buy it from the competition;
  • Stop using the brand's product, cancel a subscription.

In the last two cases,attrition is total for the company. To avoid impacting profitability, it must seek to avoid attrition.

Commercial prospecting is based onidentifying new customers, to boost sales. It's vital for companies, enabling them to offset the loss of customers. Alongside the telephone, door-to-door canvassing and trade shows, digital marketing is emerging as a complementary prospecting tool

Online prospecting is a continuous process, taking varying lengths of time. Between contact, decision and purchase, the prospect goes through several stages. The further they progress down the sales funnel, the greater their interest in your brand. The challenge of effective prospecting is to quickly identify the customer profile to which your offer may correspond. 

What you need to know: What are the steps in the conversion tunnel?

A conversion tunnel or sales funnel corresponds to the path taken by a lead until it is converted into a customer. It is often represented by an inverted inverted pyramid. A sales funnel is made up of four key stageswith key issues at stake:

  • Discover Discover: attract attention, improve visibility, make yourself known, generate traffic, turn strangers into visitors;
  • Benefits Optimize content, advertising, SEO, make visitors want to know more, turn visitors into prospects, identify pain points;
  • Action Make prospects want to buy, convert them into customers;
  • Enchantment Building customer loyalty, turning them into brand ambassadors.

What are the different prospecting families?

Two categories of commercial prospecting can be distinguished: 

  • Classic or analog offline prospecting;
  • Online prospecting.

Offline prospecting techniques include : 

  • The telephone. For sales teams, this technique involves prospecting, using a database. Every day, a company makes an average of 52 calls. 45% of prospects contacted by telephone buy a product or service. 81% of sales are completed after the5th call;
  • Field sales. Here, the idea is to meet prospects face-to-face, without intermediaries;
  • Trade shows. Accessible to all companies, these events are an opportunity to boost brand awareness and increase sales.

Online prospecting techniques include : 

  • Social networks or social selling. Half of French salespeople use LinkedIn to collect prospect data. 67% of B2B companies use Twitter. 96% of B2C marketers use Facebook to prospect. 96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content;
  • Emailing. Half of all customers appreciate receiving promotional e-mails. 21.5% of e-mails are opened;
  • Lead generation. This sales prospecting tool is based on the collection of qualified prospects. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different families? 

Offline sales prospecting

Discover the advantages and limitations of each type of analog sales prospecting.

Benefits Disadvantages
- Direct contact with the prospect;
- Interactive and personalized communication;
- Possibility of choosing the best time to call;
- Rapid positive or negative feedback;
- No sales travel expenses.
- A difficult exercise for a salesperson
- Can generate stress, demotivation and frustration;
- Intrusive nature;
- Poor quality of exchanges;
- Time-consuming telephone prospecting campaign.
Benefits Disadvantages
- Ideal for keeping in touch with your market;
- Cost-effective (no need to buy files or make phone calls);
- Strong ties with customers;
- Strong ties with customers.
- Approach likely to be seen as an inconvenience, or even pressure;
- Possible negative repercussions on the salesperson's or company's image;
- Significant travel time.
Benefits Disadvantages
- Direct contact with the prospect;
- Interactive and personalized communication;
- Possibility of choosing the best time to call;
- Rapid positive or negative feedback;
- No sales travel expenses.
- Difficult exercise for a salesperson,
- Can generate stress, demotivation, frustration;
- Intrusive character;
- Poor quality of exchanges;
- Time-consuming telephone prospecting campaign.
Benefits Disadvantages
- Ideal for keeping in touch with your market;
- Cost-effective (no need to buy files or make phone calls);
- Strong customer relationship
- Strong customer relationship
- Approach likely to be seen as an inconvenience, or even as coercion;
- Possible negative repercussions on the image of the salesperson or the company
- Significant travel time
Trade shows
Benefits Disadvantages
- Presence of a large number of qualified prospects;
- A venue conducive to meetings and exchanges.
- Difficulty competing with the show's biggest players ;
- High cost ; Profitability not always easy to achieve.

Online sales prospecting

We present the pros and cons of each type of digital sales prospecting.

Social networks
Benefits Disadvantages
- B2B and B2C;
- Obtain precise statistics on prospecting campaigns.
- Few results if content is inadequate or of poor quality ;
- Time-consuming work ; Constant monitoring to ensure visibility.
Benefits Disadvantages
- No technical knowledge required ;
- Personalized communication ; Database segmentation ;
- Precise targeting ;
- Message personalization ; Measurable follow-up.
- Irreversible sending (no changes possible after sending) ; Spams ;
- Need to stand out to get a good opening rate.
Lead generation
Benefits Disadvantages
- Automated prospecting;
- Reduced expenses;
- Time savings;
- Long-term ROI approach.
- False leads;
- The time it takes to create attractive content;
- The need to be well referenced.

The 4 stages of a prospecting campaign

Discover the steps to follow to find new customers.

  1. Define your objectives and target. Do you want to generate a specific sales figure? Acquire a certain number of customers? Identify your precise prospecting objectives. The best way to target prospects is toanalyze your personas. This will enable you to better understand their problems, needs, expectations and so on. Once you've done this, you can segment your targets, using quantitative and qualitative criteria. 
  1. Choosing the right prospecting channels. As we've just seen, there are many different ways of prospecting. Their selection will depend on your budget, your internal resources and your objectives. Opting for multi-channel prospecting is key to the success of your sales strategy.
  1. Multiplying touchpoints to convert prospects into customers: websites, physical stores, word-of-mouth, salespeople, expert testimonials, search engines, emailing, advertising, catalogs, social networks, mobile applications, etc. Increasing the number of contact points enables us to guide prospects step by step in their purchasing decision. As reassurance stages, touchpoints create a relationship of trust between the prospect and the company. They accentuate the brand's presence in their minds.

Monitoring the performance of your prospecting campaign. This enables you to assess the effectiveness of your campaign, and determine relevant indicators such as sales generated, ROI campaign, number of new customers and market share gained.

The different stages in a prospect's life?

Depending on your prospecting actions, your prospects and customers may change status. Correctly categorizing them enables you to address them in the best possible way:

A cold prospect doesn't yet know your company. He's interested in the specifics of your product or service, but doesn't yet need it. Here, the aim is to create this need by sending out newsletters, distributing informative content, etc. 

A lukewarm prospect has a real need and shows interest in your brand. He's ready to acquire your product or service. To encourage them to buy, you need to maintain your relationship and communication with them.

A hot prospect has an imminent intention to buy and an urgent need. He suggests an appointment or a meeting to draw up a quote. Here, the challenge is to build loyalty and turn them into ambassadors.

5 tips for successful prospecting campaigns 

Discover our tips to guarantee the performance of your sales prospecting actions.

  1. Capitalize on the complementary nature of different prospecting techniques. Alternate or simultaneous use of different channels promotes lead acquisition.
  2. Build a unique bond with your targets. Whatever your prospecting technique, it's essential to constantly anticipate their new needs. The aim is to offer them a product or service that really suits them. Personalization is essential to reinforce your targets' sense of consideration.
  3. Adapt to your prospects' behavior, by collecting and analyzing data.
  4. Strengthen your sales pitch with the CAP SONCAS method. 
  5. Manage reminders.

How do you prospect online?

There are a number of tools you can use to prospect online

  • Marketing automation ;
  • The chatbot, perfect for first-level prospecting ; 
  • Sales prospecting software: Waalaxy, GetProspect, GetQuanty, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Dux-Soup, HubSpot, etc. ;
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM). 

Dataventure offers you the opportunity to implement tailor-made prospect recruitment campaigns. These are based on performance-based emailing, display or Premium co-registration. Got a project in mind? Get in touch with us!

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